Home > Education "reform", The Noise Machine > Schools, kids shouldn’t be waiting for Superman

Schools, kids shouldn’t be waiting for Superman

Now that Billionaire Boys Club-trained Jean-Claude Brizard is leaving the Rochester school district for Chicago, it’s a good time to drop the “waiting for Superman” expectation that any one person in any single job can transform public education in any mid-size to large US city.

Kudos then to Rochester Democrat and Chronicle columnist Mark Hare for yesterday’s essay, “Brizard’s departure should be wake-up call.” Said Hare:

We are very likely to spend the next several months or longer debating the kind of leader the city schools should have. The subtext is: The right superintendent can save public education in Rochester. The facts say there is no such person.

You can understand why the Noise Machine and pro-Brizard corporate types like to focus on the “Superman” model; it means they can ignore the tremendous economic and social disadvantages faced by city kids, growing up in harsh poverty in environments offering little support for educational achievement. Hare comments:

[T]oo many people (I hear from lots of them) think we just need a no-nonsense leader or unions with less clout. They blame parents and even the children themselves, faulting their morals and work ethic. They send me racist and ignorant emails insisting that minorities would destroy public education in the suburbs.

Hare supports expanding programs that enable city students to attend suburban schools, citing research by Richard Kahlenberg of The Century Foundation. He knows the opposition to a completely metropolitan school district would be overwhelming.

Bill Sez: That could help. But I really cheer when Hare adds, “If Brizard’s departure could move us beyond the search for superman to the search for community solutions, we’d owe him big-time.”

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